Training T-Man, First Fall Under Saddle - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 24 Old 12-17-2011, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2011
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I will now try to focus and write a substantial post.

Overall things have been progressing nicely. I normally start each ride with some ground work and free lunging. We have been working on bending, stretching, and transitions lately.

I will focus on the latest and worst ride which happened just Thursday. The stable where I board normally has lessons Monday and Wednesday nights, which I try to avoid. He isn't at the place where I feel totally confident riding him in an arena with small children. So while grooming him Thursday a "lessoner" walks in to barn. And I think "oh great". So I scurry away into the arena in hopes of getting some work done while the lesson grooms and tacks.

So I lunge for a little bit. His mind generally seems in a good place and he seems responsive. The weather is a bit questionable. It is getting kind of windy as a storm system moves in, but considering he was behaving. So I jump on real quick in hopes of gaging where he is before the lesson walks in. I am just riding bareback.

He is being a little resistive to the bit, a little stiff and bracing. So we work on flexing and moving off my leg/seat. I feel we are making some progress. Then the lesson walks in and Tungsten immediately starts acting stupid. This is a classic case of rider "oh no someone is watching and my horse is going to embarrass me" syndrome. As well as Tungsten is hardly ever worked in the arena with another horse. Most horses at this stable are ornaments. And 99% of the time I am the only one down there riding. He just does not have the experience of working when another horse is around and he can't wrap his head around it.

So most annoying thing he would do is take the rein. He would just totally run through my outside rein to try to get near the other horse. So I kept saying to myself "RIDE the horse, don't let him ride you!" So I got him in a nice forward walk where he couldn't so easily ignore my aids. We were making progress again when a strong gust of wind hit the barn door with perfect timing. Tungsten spooked. Not a terrible spook, more of a tense jump a step forward spook, but it was enough to set the other horse off a bit. So now I am officially interfering with this other lesson and feel bad.

So next little figure eights. I was harping on him a bit too much. Too much leg, too much seat, trying to get control but really just making him tense. So we go through this little dance for the next twenty minutes or so until the lesson leaves because the little girl was "too tired to do much today". Really she was probably terrified my horse would get her, smh.

He was very annoying as they were leaving the arena. So I forced him into a big boy, working walk. I walked him around a bit more to try to settle him down and end on a good note.

So I take the hit for this bad ride. He was not ready for all this stimulus. I should have done some ground work and called it a day, but I am a terrible schedule follower and couldn't drop my plans.

I at least saved my butt a little. We ended with some more lunging and ground work before we called it a day. I didn't want him to end his arena work tense and stressed. So overall, yes we worked through some issues, but I pushed him a bit too much this day.

There is some recovery though. Today I had a lesson with my "old mare". I leased her from the time this stable bought her and did her training. I wanted to work with a horse I had trained who understood the bit and I could feel like I did some work done. It was nice getting back into some serious dressage. This mare is so lovely and light off my seat, it was a dream. It helps me to see where I have gotten her and see Tungsten there in a year or so. Now I am fueled to get back to work with Tungsten now that I have polished up my "feel" with the mare.

And finally a cute picture from some ground training. This is about 30 minutes after being introduced to the tarp, which he was terrified of at first. But, don't worry, the fun thing with babies, when I get it out again he will act like he's never seen it before!


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post #22 of 24 Old 12-17-2011, 02:31 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, but the good news! Before this not so great ride, there have been a few moments when I have really "felt" him. Where we have had that flawless communication and I have felt every bit of him from his haunches through his mouth. It was lovely and it is nice to have that to work toward :)

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post #23 of 24 Old 12-24-2011, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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Had a great ride Thursday!

Started off with some ground work. He has been listening to leg fairly well under saddle but has been lacking on the ground. He moves his hind end beautifully if you even gesture toward him. However, if you apply pressure at his girth where the leg aid would be given to move sideways he is clueless. So I wanted to work to correct this.

The first few attempts would have been humorous to watch. I started with pressure to the girth. Then, when he blatantly ignored that, really leaned into it. Then, once that was ignore used my other hand and pressed into his shoulder. He then gave me the "oh did you want something" look and fell to the side about an inch and was worshiped like a God (oh to be a young horse). After a few more attempts I was already seeing great progress. So we will keep up with that.

Then free lunged him for just a minute to take him through his paces. We have been working on my doing as little work as possible while lunging :) I tell him to trot and hold the lunge whip at my hip and he best by golly keep trotting until I feel obliged to say walk. I was really creating too much work for myself in the beginning. I would tell him to trot then "kiss, kiss, kiss" with my mouth keeping his rhythm. And if I let up harassing him about it, he would walk. Now I just stand there, its so easy being alpha!

Also, he picked up the most perfect canter! Being a lazy horse, I normally have to pressure him a bit to pick it up, but one little "canter" and he went. It was lovely. Inside I was having a mini freak out, but maintained my poise.

So he seemed sane that day. The previous free lunging session he was acting like a bronco at the canter, but he had also had 4 days off before that. I then got on bareback, my winter tack choice. And we had a great ride!

We worked on flexing and giving the bit by turning his head to the inside and outside but keeping his body going straight on the rail. Did some crazy, drunk looking figures in the middle of the arena because I was just swaying him all over the place with my leg. Did a few leg yields. He was listening wonderfully to my leg and seat, oh joy! Worked on going back and forth between stretching and collecting at a walk.

Then the trotting. He was lovely. I gave my cue. He picked it up each time time within about two strides, which I accept for now considering his recent trotting tantrums. There was one instance where he stopped and turned around in an attempt to take the rein when asked and I promptly gave him a whack with the whip. That is very rude, I am not about that. He sincerely apologize and we were back at it. Best improvement, he was so willingly on the bit! Since his setback he has been behind the bit. Not oh so badly but enough that I can't "feel" my horse. In order to keep myself patient and calm I often say things to him like "Oh my gosh I have lost my horse, where did he go? Oh wait, there he is!" When he so lovingly tries to evade me. So anyway he did some lovely trot work, on the bit, listening to my aids. Can't be too much happier with that!

I think I am now going to wait to work on his cantering until the spring. Then we will be able to ride outside and he will be much more willing and less sore with the warmer weather. It is frustrating because I was hoping to finish up his cantering over my winter break (now), but because of the recent events now is not the best time. So I will focus on his getting the verbal cue down perfectly and continue to improve his responsiveness and forwardness under saddle.

Also, good news! When the farrier came out this past week he saw improvement with Tungsten's hind end weakness. The cosequin is suppose to help with both his string halt and side bone in the front. Normally, when the farrier comes someone has to brace against Tungsten's left hip when doing his right hind because that is the weaker leg and it is hard for him to support himself on it. Poor guy, normally the left hind is trembling with the weight even when someone is helping him support himself! Anyway, this time, he was able to hold the right hoof up for longer periods of time without a break and didn't need anyone to lean against his left! What a great Christmas present! I am glad we are seeing improvements! So all is well in Tungsten world. I am thrilled to see we are finally back on track after the temper tantrums and health scare. Happy holidays to all, I will hopefully get new pictures soon!

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post #24 of 24 Old 12-28-2011, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2011
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Pictures from some tarp training posted here Tarp Training!

Sorry too lazy to upload them again. These are from yesterday. I will actually write a bit later, but there are some pictures.

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